Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wellness Wednesday #22

Hello Everyone! I am posting this late because we have had a busy day. The picture above is one my husband took just west of Spokane, Washington in August 2006 (a combine in the wheat fields) and I thought it was fitting due to all our activity here this week - bread baking, purchasing bulk grains, making other fresh whole grain goodies and learning how to preserve stored grain using dry ice. We now have 300# of hard white wheat, 50# red hard wheat, 75# spelt, 50# soft white wheat and 50# rolled oats. Most of this we purchased at Azure Standard and it was an interesting experience that I hope we repeat. With all those heavy bags I'm glad it was spring break so Hubby could help me. I am going to be evaluating Azure Standards prices compared to my local resources. Grain is not grown locally, so this is a good option. They deliver in WA, OR, ID, MT, ND, Minneapolis, CA and AZ.

Today at home I weighed in at 312# and then I went into the doctor and weighed in at 322#. What is that all about?! Not fair! Our HMO uses computerized charts and so they sent me on my way with a read out with all my vital stats, including a BMI (body mass index). That was scary. My Body Mass Index is scarier than my weight. And because I have tried to be honest since my first Wellness Wednesday post, I decided to put it here in writing, that my BMI is 55. You can check your own BMI here. Well, one more number to work on. I also had fasting lab work to see what my cholesterol is.

The main reason of my visit was to check out my hip which has been causing painful symptoms for about 7 years. I have trochanteric bursitis - doesn't that sound like a name for a dinosaur?! So the treatment will be physical therapy and twice daily heat applications. It will be okay for me to walk but I am going to wait until I begin my physical therapy to start doing it as my exercise. I was quite relieved to find out that it probably means I do not have arthritis and it is treatable but may take awhile since I have had symptoms for so long.

It seems that the more I learn about about health and nutrition, the more I find I need to learn! This is really starting to be a fun process. I am wondering what resources that you all enjoy and benefit from - books, websites, retail resources etc. Also I would like to know what methods you use to evaluate the worthiness of the source. There is so much information out there that you could read in one that item A is bad for you. The next resource says that item A is the best thing for every health problem under the sun! From my medical background, I do look to see if they have used legitimate scientific methods, documentation etc. This doesn't mean it has to come from a traditional medicine source, just that information should not be accepted based on feelings and only anecdotal information. So, how do you decide?

At the moment I am reading Plenty by the co-founders of the 100 Mile Diet. If you are not familiar with this, it is the concept of eating only what is grown or lives within 100 miles of your home. One of the things that made this interesting for me is that it takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia and mentions a few times Whatcom County, Washington where my family lives (and I used to). I found I could relate a little more to this project than Animal Vegetable Miracle. While the farm and story in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is fascinating and I would love to be able to do all they do on their farm, it seems out of reach for the every day person. In Plenty, they tell the story of scrounging around Farmer's Markets, following signs on the side of the road and despairing at what little they could find at certain times to fill their 100 mile criteria. They went to extremes, like not having wheat because it is not grown in their province or using salt, except for their "sinner's salt" as they called it, which they had purchased on the Oregon Coast before they started their adventure. They live in one of the largest cities in North America and yet they found amazing resources.

One of the things that intrigued me in the book was the idea that we often discard 40% of available food. I want to evaluate what we eat and how we can change this. As an example, many vegetables and plants have several edible parts, not just the one we traditionally eat. Like carrots - besides the root, the leaves are also edible, yet are usually thrown in the garbage. Even I, who has had child had experiences eating things like dandelion greens and chickweed from my Grandma Hopkins' yard, have not eaten carrot greens. When we grew them, their tops went into the compost pile, which is a better alternative than the garbage, but now I wonder what they taste like. Do any of you know? I also remember eating nasturtiums (flowers) and I am wondering about more things like this and also about what things are edible in the wild. Do any of you have book recommendations for this kind of eating? (Edited 3/20: The one thing I did NOT like about this book is that they used the name of Jesus as a swear word! ICK! You are journalists - build your vocabulary please!)

I look forward to hearing from you. I am trying to keep up with your comments. I have had a lot going on lately and have had difficulty keeping up with emails and blog hopping. but, I do appreciate your visits!

Edited 3/20: A lovely comment from Dorothy reminded me that sometimes when we type our words they come out flat and one dimensional. She did not say this, but her comment illustrated for me that a sentence or two conveys part of an idea but not the whole thought process going on in my brain.

So, in regards to the 100 Mile Diet... I find it is really interesting as a concept, but I do not feel compelled that I must follow it, though it is not overall too difficult in the location where I am! Their idea was not just eating locally but reducing the "carbon footprint" that their food made. Both Plenty and Animal Vegetable Miracle discuss the great cost in fossil fuels that bring our foods to market - an average of 1500 miles. It is a good idea to buy locally when you can for other reasons - you add to your own area's economy and support small businesses so that they can stay in business.

On the other hand, I plan to continue having grains, spices and a few other ingredients which would never be grown in an 100 mile radius from my home because they are staples to our healthy diet.

Lastly (I think), she offered the Litmus test that we have been trying to use in our eating: Eat food closest to how God made it!

That certainly is the healthiest and we are striving towards that in our home. I needed to clarify at the time, that my questions with regards to knowing who is right about health information stem primarily from discussions and documentations I have been reading about fats and which are really healthy for you and which are hype and some that are controversial. In my position of being medically considered "morbidly obese" I am concerned with my lipid profile and how this effects me in the long run. I don't think conventional medical wisdom has it right or we would be seeing some changes. I am also not totally convinced that just losing weight is the issue since my cholesterol has been virtually the same for almost 30 years with over 100# in weight variance. So, I have figured out what hasn't worked and now I am working on finding out what does!

Isn't it wonderful, the two way (or more) conversations we can have on the Internet?!


Dorothy said...

It is hard to pick out the truth from all the competing claims out there, isn't it? I think a huge dose of common sense helps. I'm a little skeptical of the 100 mile rule. What if you live in Alaska? That means no fresh fruits or vegetables. Although I don't always go by this, my boss, who is Seventh Day Adventist said his goal is to eat food as close to the way God made it as possible. Of course, that doesn't preclude cooking it or baking bread, etc. But it does mean avoiding processed foods as much as possible. If you have to have a rule, I think that is a good one. I just think eating as many fruits, vegetables and whole grains as you can leaves no room for the junk. I really believe all the rest is a smoke screen, and maybe the world's way of clouding our minds. I believe that God knew we were simple and so made healthy living simple as well. Eat whole foods and exercise. I really do believe it's as simple as that. Not that it's simple to follow!! I'm the world's worst exerciser and I eat way too much junk food. I'm a work in progress too and you are a huge inspiration for me!

Wool Winder said...

My best to you on your journey to a healthier you. About two years ago I found out my cholesterol was out of whack--not really too high, but the bad cholesterol outnumbered the good. My eating had to change and now I'm very strict on the amount of fat grams I eat each day. It wasn't easy at first, but it's routine now. And, not only is my cholesterol under control, but I feel better. I know you can reach your goals too!

Deborah said...

To decide what I believe about health and nutrition, I try to compare it to God's Word and look to what people historically have eaten. I also throw out anything unbalanced, e.g. plans that throw out a whole category of food, like the low fat craze (we need fat to be healthy). I also believe God makes it better than man so I don't eat synthetic substitutes if at all possible.